I don't like all this DOOM3/HL2 hating going on. They are both going to be excellent but for different reasons.
Agreed--it's really ridiculous when you think about it as I'm sure that most people, like me, will be buying both games. Buying software isn't remotely like the prospect of buying a $400US 3d card which generally and routinely requires that a single choice be made by the consumer among competing products.
I also agree that the nature and content of HL2 and D3 will be radically different both in terms of story, presentation, and 3d-game game environments (a lot of HL2, for instance, takes place in outside, open-air environments whereas I believe D3 is mainly, if not wholly, restricted to building interiors.)
What made the initial HL so compelling and so much fun was the originality, depth, and the unfolding of the storyline on which the game was based. It was a very entertaining experience for me and I've found HL1 somewhat unique in that sense among all the computer games I've ever played. My only curiosity for HL2 is whether Valve can manage to "do it again"--with the same degree of originality and depth of HL1, or hopefully, with even more of all that good stuff.
My curiosity about about ID software and D3 is whether ID is capable of producing a compelling, deep, original, and highly entertaining single-player game with an unfolding story line to match. ID's games up to this point in time do not fit that description, but excel in other ways exclusive of the single-player story they tell (if any.) So this is going to be my primary concern for D3. In a sense for me, both HL2 and D3 will be competing against the original HL in terms of how entertaining these games actually are, based on their respective single-player story lines and their respective presentations.
I worry that both Valve and ID are putting far too much emphasis on the 3d-rendering qualities of their game engines, and that neither company is saying much at all about the quality and depth of the stories told by each game. That seems precariously unbalanced to me, as a moving and compelling, *original* and entertaining story line is worth far more software sales in the long run than how shiny and reflective scene objects may appear on screen when rendered correctly by an appropriate 3d card. I worry far more about the "frame-rate" relative to the story told by these games than I do about the 3d-card rendering frame rate of either game.
In one narrow, practical sense, what Valve and ID are doing in promoting the scene-rendering capabilities of their upcoming games vicariously through the 3d-card IHVs is understandable. If you don't have a 3d-card, you can't play these games, so by promoting 3d-card vendors the game developers are helping to create larger markets for their 3d games. Problems occur, though, when a developer spends 75% of his game development time and attention on 3d-rendering engine technicalities and approaches, general scene artwork, textures, and audio tracks; but only 25% of his time, money, and energy are devoted to the very thing that provides all of those things with any value--the originality, quality, and depth of the story told by the game. To paraphrase "bubba": "It's the story, stupid!" Heh...:D
It's just a bedrock fact relative to the the 3d games industry that "today's" SOA 3d-rendering game engine is "tomorrow's" bargain-bin rendering engine, as 3d-engines of all description, regardless of their authors, age and obsolesce very quickly these days as the pace of 3d-hardware development is running at a break-neck pace.
But a good and compelling story, well told, can last forever
It is well known that I cannot err--and so, if you should happen across an error in anything I have written you can be absolutely sure that *I* did not write it!...;)